Mental Health and Wellbeing

​LOOKING AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING
 The mental health crisis has undoubtedly been exacerbated by lockdown and it has also created a whole barrage of lifestyle stressors, known to have a negative impact on all our mental health. Uncertainty about the future, unemployment, anxiety and loneliness have all increased and those with existing mental health needs especially, have been deprived of the human contact so necessary to their wellbeing. Virtual consultations just cannot always provide an adequate replacement for those suffering with severe depression and anxiety.

Moreover, although the gradual easing of lockdown brings many welcome opportunities to have more human contact, these changes can be difficult. And just as it took time to find ways of coping during lockdown, so it can also take time to find the confidence to reconnect with more normal life. With regulations changing frequently and conflicting media discussions, fear and anxiety are common emotional responses. However, we need to try and keep our focus on the present moment and the charity, Rethink Mental Illness*suggests a few simple ideas to promote wellbeing. These include, turning off news notifications on phones, tuning into to the Good News Network® as an antidote to the barrage of negativity experienced in the mainstream media, muting people who constantly share updates or misinformation, discussing fears with someone trusted and finding enjoyable distractions.

Sadly, there is also still much unprocessed trauma that is only just beginning to emerge for disadvantaged children. Tragically, during the lockdown, children in households where domestic, emotional and physical abuse occurred, were less able to seek refuge and support elsewhere. There are also concerns that more children are being exposed to their parents’ hazardous drinking after a reported rise in alcohol sales during the initial weeks of lockdown. Many children interviewed by the charity, Childhood Trust,* which funds over 200 child poverty charities in London, were found to be, ‘deeply disturbed, worrying extensively about their family’s health, the closure of schools, a loss of routine, social connection and the future.’ Most of the children interviewed also said they were scared about dying from the virus or worried about their family dying. Experts fear a ‘tsunami’ of safeguarding referrals once schools return in full and it may take many years before the impact on children is fully understood.

*The Childhood Trust funds grass roots charities and their projects to alleviate the impact of child poverty in London and they make grants to other charities working directly with disadvantaged children. Their work is themed across three areas: meeting children’s practical needs, supporting children’s emotional needs and inspiring children with new experiences and opportunities. The aim is to promote the development of strong foundations for learning, resilience and aspiration.


​SOME RESOURCES YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL 
Rethink Mental Illness is a charity for anyone affected by mental illness, carers, family and friends; they want to transform the way the UK approaches mental illness. www.rethink.org; 0121 22 7007   

Topics covered on their website include: About mental illness; Learn more about conditions; Learn more about symptoms; Living with mental illness; Medications; Treatment and support; Wellbeing & physical health

Carers hub: Carer’s assessment – Under the Care Act 2014; Confidentiality and Information Sharing – For Carers, Friends and Family; Getting help in a crisis; Planning for the future – your relative’s care and support; Benefits for carers.


 The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak. Government advice designed to keep us safe is under constant review and will be different depending on where you live.
www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/looking-after-your-mental-healthduring-coronavirus-outbreak

Mind and Soul Foundation: Explores Christianity and mental health: multimedia resources- audio, video, articles; www.mindandsoulfoundation.org

Premier Lifeline: The National Christian Helpline is a confidential helpline open from 9am to midnight everyday: 0300 111 0101

Bracknell Forest Community Network (BFCN): The BFCN supports people aged 18 and over living with mental illhealth or experiencing stress, anxiety or low mood to develop their confidence, interests, hobbies, life skills and resilience. There are dedicated recovery facilitators who support individuals on their recovery journey using: relationship building, graded exposure, confidence building, anxiety management, motivational techniques. email: network@berkshire.nhs.uk; phone: 01344 823300

Berkshire Healthcare – Talking Therapies service: Talking Therapies offers help for common mental health problems including mild to moderate and moderate to severe, anxiety, depression, stress and phobias. The service also runs regular stress control sessions for the general public locally. For more information phone 0300 365 2000.

The Samaritans: The Samaritans offer a 24 hour a day Telephone helpline, offering emotional support for people in crisis: 01344 455556 (Bracknell); 116 123 (UK) 

​Citizens Advice: www.citizensadvice.org.uk to find local branch and help for housing, work, debt, legal issues and knowing your rights.